Bay Area FM Radio Has Officially Lost Its Soul

 

If you’ve tuned in to Bay Area FM radio over the past couple of years you’ll have noticed that it has quite literally lost its soul. When I was in high school there were two hardcore soul stations and now we have none. In the most heartbreaking case of corporate takeovers in recent memory Entercom Inc bought out 102.9 KBLX.

 

KBLX was that station that you hated when you were little because it was the only thing your parents ever listened to (grown folks music) yet when you finally got your own car you found yourself instinctively dialing it in as one of your six favorites. KBLX never played rap music. If anything they would take a hip-hop song remove the lyrics and add a saxophone solo. I do believe KBLX was very instrumental in the underground unwrapped movement (pun intended). Things, however, were doomed to fall apart. When I turn to the station now I hear the Notorious BIG, Will Smith, and other rap songs played by disc jockeys that look nothing like me. When I listen to “The New” KBLX on the way to work in the morning I don’t hear my Cousin Kevin Brown airing live from San Francisco I am forced to listen to a prerecorded broadcast of Steve Harvey. It’s an utter disgrace.

 

98.1 Kiss FM was also a soul station but it played more upbeat records than KBLX. If KBLX was playing Marvin Gaye then Kiss was playing The Gap Band. If Kiss had your head rocking to Teena Marie then KBLX was grooving to Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. But now the flavor on Kiss 98.1 has been diluted. For some reason they thought it was a good idea to play 1980’s punk rock like Blondie and Eurythmics. It’s so bizarre because no formal announcement has been made as to why the change has taken place. Faithful listeners are left scratching their heads and most of them wanting to tune out but there is really nowhere else to go.

 

What happened to black radio with positive and charismatic black disc jockeys? Corporations are going to continue to ravage our African-American culture until we’re left with nothing unless we do something about it. We need black radio back, black owned businesses, and a sense of black worth that is not entrenched in consumerism. Dr. Martin Luther King saw the power in Black Radio over 45 years ago. It’s a shame that this too has been taken from us.

-YB

 

 

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Brief Thoughts on the Occupation

 

October 12, 2011

                It’s easy for me to forget that I’m a writer when I’m at my job working all day. It’s easy for me to let my best thoughts evaporate into the idleness of my mind. It’s easy for me to become blind to beauty. The world is dramatically shifting all around me; therefore I cling to employment so I don’t lose my balance. But then again maybe I need to be pushed down like a wooden domino. Perhaps I should allow myself to get swept up in all the change.

                Lately I’ve been wondering if I have become a bit of a hypocrite because I only write about my radical ideas as opposed to running out in the street and screaming about them to whoever is listening. It’s been several years since I’ve participated in an organized protest. It’s been equally as long since I’ve collaborated with like-minded luminaries. I’m concerned that I have grown to rely far too heavily on the tactic of guerilla warfare that is my writing. It may be time for me to join the disenchanted masses.

                At present I don’t know what to make of the occupation of big cities across America. I mean I know I agree with just about every homemade banner and sign that I have seen (raging against unemployment, corporate greed, bailots, etc), and lord knows that I support drastic change in this country. I just feel like something else will need to happen in order for me to be reeled in. Forgive me for what I am about to say but when I see footage of the unrest; I see a lot of white boys with bull horns. I see white guys leading chants, and blocking freeways. I just see a lot of white males— period. All of this makes me wonder whether or not we can we really call what is happening around this country a revolution if is led by the world’s most privileged demographic.

                I am not trying to be overly simplistic nor do I intend to come off as being too caught up on race but this is what’s making me hesitate. This is what keeps me wrapped up in my own occupation instead of jumping head first into theirs.

-YB

Don’t Believe the Hype

October 2, 2011

I love Michael Jackson and I miss him dearly. With that being said I also know that the conviction of Dr. Conrad Murray will not bring him back. I must say that I’m a bit dumbfounded by the trial and the emotional frenzy that is taking place right outside the courthouse.

I don’t know what it is about our society that makes vengeance mandatory in situations where it makes no logical sense. The truth is that Michael Jackson was a very wealthy and powerful man who was addicted to the drug propofol. He felt as though he needed it to sleep. Several other doctors prescribed propofol for Michael Jackson and if Conrad Murray refused to do so then Michael would have simply hired another doctor.

As I listened to the radio yesterday I couldn’t help but to notice hearing some of my favorite MJ jams on almost every radio station. I was elated to be able to groove to all of these songs on the way to work— especially Billy Jean— until I thought about why they were suddenly put into heavy rotation on the radio playlists. Capitalism is about making money by any means and I believe the sole purpose of this trial is not to seek justice but rather it is just another example of corporate greed, brainwashing, and manipulation.

It’s no secret that even though the King of Pop is deceased his fans are still the most loyal on the planet. We know that thousands of them will flock to Los Angeles from all over the world and spend thousands upon thousands of dollars while in town, we know that millions of them will follow the trial by watching the news thus boosting television ratings on every major network, and we know that millions more will spend millions of dollars on MJ music and merchandising. American businesses will net a grotesque amount of money from this absurd trial, and all they have to do to get it is put a black man in jail for murder. Well hell they’d do that for free.

Pshhhh! It’s so ignorant. Please don’t believe the hype.

-YB